Last Updated: May 17
Playlists aren’t just the wave of the future, they’re what’s happening right now. Maybe that’s why hip-hop and playlists go together so well. Hip-hop has always been modern, young, of-the-moment, so it only makes sense that so many artists in hip-hop owe much of their success to playlists — but playlists are also successful because of the artists on them.
Placement on just the right playlist can now make or break a rapper or singer’s career, but the right rapper or singer on a playlist can skyrocket that list’s placement right to the forefront of its specific service. Now, while it’s easy to simply grab the Rap Caviar playlist, one of Spotify’s top lists and the launching pad for many a rapper’s career, half the fun of hip-hop is in the discovery, digging into the genre to find new, exciting corners of the culture or an unfamiliar sound or artist to explore.
This list is a starting point for that discovery; by no means are these the only playlists worth checking out on Spotify, but they’ll take you beyond the sounds of the moment or just the convenient, mass-marketed artists du jour into a real hip-hop history lesson that won’t put you to sleep or yell at you to get off its lawn. It may not make you an expert overnight, but it will expand your palate, give you some food for thought, and maybe most importantly, make you nod your head and/or shake a tailfeather or two.